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J Appl Physiol (1985). 2001 Apr;90(4):1227-31.

Hormonal regulation of PGE2 and COX-2 production in rabbit uterine cervical fibroblasts.

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Department of Biochemistry, Tokyo University of Pharmacy and Life Science, Hachioji, Tokyo 192-0392, Japan.


Prostaglandins (PGs) cause uterine contraction to initiate labor at term. We investigated the effect of progesterone and 17beta-estradiol on the production of PGE2 in rabbit uterine cervical fibroblasts. When the cervical fibroblasts were treated with interleukin-1alpha (IL-1alpha), the level of PGE2 was augmented in a time- and dose-dependent manner. The IL-1alpha-augmented PGE2 level was almost completely suppressed by progesterone and 17beta-estradiol at the physiological concentration (0.01 microM), whereas a slight decrease in the basal level of PGE2 was observed in the cervical fibroblasts treated with both hormones at a pharmacological concentration (1 microM). In addition, the level of PGE2 augmented by IL-1alpha was due to the increase of cyclooxygenase (COX) activity, which was inhibited by progesterone and 17beta-estradiol as well as by indomethacin and a specific COX-2 inhibitor, NS-398, but not by the well-known COX-1 inhibitor, aspirin. Furthermore, progesterone and 17beta-estradiol suppressed the IL-1alpha-augmented COX-2 production but not the constitutive production of COX-1 in rabbit uterine cervical fibroblasts. These results suggest that progesterone and 17beta-estradiol prevent the initiation of labor by inhibiting PGE2 production after the suppression of COX-2 production during pregnancy in the rabbit.

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